Daily Reformer: Time to rewatch “Veep”

The guys in the middle.

Good morning. 

And….another remarkable day in both Minnesota and national politics, with Joe Biden shocking much of the political world by winning a plurality of Super Tuesday delegates and votes after racking up huge victories in delegate-rich states like North Carolina and Virginia. 

And winning something of a shocker in Minnesota, whose voters proved anxious about Sen. Bernie Sanders and seem to have moved to Biden after Sen. Amy Klobuchar dropped out Monday and endorsed the former vice president. MPR’s Brian Bakst reports a robust turnout of 742K in the Democratic primary.

Klobuchar comes away looking like she has acute political instincts and the ability to carry her state on the strength of her endorsement, even after Sanders held a raucous rally here Monday night. She’s probably on a short list of Biden vice presidential picks.

Time to rewatch HBO’s Veep.  

ABC News Rick Klein has some exit poll data: 75 percent in Minnesota expressed fav opinion of Klobuchar. Among them, 45 percent voted for Biden. And Biden got roughly half the late-deciders.

But she’s angered a lot of progressives, and this race is far from finished:  

Michael Bloomberg, who spent a fortune in Minnesota and like elsewhere came away with few or no delegates to show for it, is likely finished, and one would think he would throw his delegate support to Biden. 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is much more ideologically aligned with Sanders, however, and Biden helped craft that awful bankruptcy law that Warren was fighting from her office at Harvard before she was even a national figure. 

In a Biden v. Sanders race, both present weaknesses. They’re both very, uh, experienced. Biden seemed to confuse his sister for his wife during the start of his victory speech.

Sanders has the superior enthusiasm, money and organization. But aside from an improved showing among Latinos that helped deliver California and nearly win Texas, he hasn’t really grown his coalition much from 2016. 

Dave Weigel: 

“The warning signs were there for Sanders when he won the IA/NH popular vote with under 30%. If you pointed that out you’d get deluged with “BUT THERE ARE MORE CANDIDATES NOW” tweets. But his struggle to hold onto that 2016 coalition, or replace missing parts, was real.”

For all the howls about the “establishment” helping Biden, that’s not really how you win North Carolina, for instance, as Corey Richardson tweeted:  

“Joe Biden won 63% of the black vote in North Carolina. Folks, it’s ain’t the ‘establishment’ changing the race, it’s the black people.”

Anyway, the Times had a lengthy account — seemingly written in expectation of a big Sanders Super Tuesday victory — of the fumbling efforts of the Democratic establishment, such as it is, to stop Sanders. I suppose you could argue it all came together in the last few days. 

(The piece included an unflattering portrayal of Klobuchar “sending personal messages to media figures complaining about their reporting and boasting of her energetic campaign schedule.” Raise your hand if you’ve received one of these over the years.)

On this thing with the “establishment” — call me crazy — I also tend to think people have agency. They have reasons for how they voted. Blaming “the media” or “the establishment” assumes voters are stupid and can be easily manipulated. Or, to take you back to your college days, perhaps they just suffer from “false consciousness.” 

One more thing: Coronavirus is about to change both the economy and the election. Read this analysis about how little is in the toolbox of economic policymakers as they confront the effects of the disease; an emergency rate cut seemed to create new panic in the markets Tuesday. And, economist Tyler Cowen muses on whether infection rates will grow exponentially or stay closer to the historical norm. It’s a fascinating exploration of both ways of thinking, but he’s getting increasingly concerned that it’s going to be exponential. 

If and when that happens, who has confidence that the current government in Washington will competently manage the public health crisis? And when it fails to do so, what will be the political consequences? 

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Have a great day all! JPC